A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this adventure story has little to be concerned about. Good guys prevail, and bad guys are punished in this classic good vs. semi-evil. The only issue for some families is that Jackie hopes to skip telling his mom exactly what he did all afternoon.
What's the story?
Forgetful Jackie and his brave bulldog, Baxter, go on a hunt to find his missing shadow. With the guidance of Mr. Socrates (billed as the smartest man alive), Jackie decides to take on the nefarious Shadow Snatcher, and he can only hope he'll make it home before his mother does!
Is it any good?
With its retro comic stylings, this book is a fun addition to the picture book genre. The story is a little sparse, but the skillful and nostalgic pencil-sketch illustrations are enough to keep the interest of both parent and child. Larry Di Fiori clearly knows his genre, and the illustrations are lush with detail and comic book extras. Kids who love comics will get it right away, and kids just learning will have fun seeing a new-to-them way to effectively illustrate a story.
Families who aren't into the graphic look of the book might not find much else to love. Stripped of its fun packaging, the story is trite and the characters undeveloped, and readers may be troubled by plot holes. Overall, though, the style is so engaging, that the substance doesn't matter quite so much.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the unusual style of this book. Is this more fun to read than "regular" books? How do the pictures help tell the story? Do you think it would be easier or harder to write a book like this? Families may want to try to make comics of their own. Also, they can discuss Jackie's plan to keep his mom in the dark about his adventure. Is this a good idea or a bad one? What might Jackie's mom's reaction be? Is there a better way for Jackie to handle the situation?